Big 12: Randy Bullock

The Lou Groza Award, given annually to college football's best kicker, has released its watch list.

Plenty of Big 12 talents cracked the list. Here they are:
Good list, there. I might have added Anthony Cantele from Kansas State, too, but he can earn his way on the list with a good season. Sharp's got a good shot to win the whole thing, too. He was outstanding last season as Oklahoma State's Swiss Army special teamer. Sharp placekicks, punts and is the kickoff specialist for the Cowboys, and led the Big 12 in all three categories last season.

Big 12 kickers have won the past two Groza Awards. Texas A&M's Randy Bullock upset Sharp last season to win the award, but Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey won it in 2010.

Before that, Kansas State's Martin Gramatica (1997) was the last Big 12 player to win the trophy.

Thoughts on the Big 12's NFL draft

May, 2, 2012
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We've already gone over my thoughts on the Big 12's first round of the draft. What about the rest? Here are some thoughts:

  • [+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
    Brian Spurlock/US PresswireThe Lions saw enough from Ryan Broyles to take a risk on him in the second round.
    Absolutely fantastic to see Ryan Broyles find a home in Detroit in the second round. Broyles is a second-round talent, and it was great to see him recognized as such -- with NFL teams seeing enough out of his newly-rehabbed knee to know he's a solid prospect. No player in the history of college football had more receptions. I like his chances for a productive career, especially on a building Detroit team with a lot of talent, especially at the offensive skill positions.
  • I've written about it in the past, but I'm intrigued to see what Missouri tight end Michael Egnew does at the next level. He was less productive than his predecessors at Mizzou, Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, but supposedly is a more talented blocker. Coffman got stuck in a franchise that didn't seem willing to use him for what he is -- a receiving tight end -- but can Egnew shed the Mizzou tight end stereotype? We'll find out in Miami.
  • Really happy to see things work out well for Oklahoma's Frank Alexander, who was drafted in the fourth round by Carolina. He had a scare at the combine. Doctors thought he had a heart condition and his playing career was in jeopardy. Turns out, he was fine. Glad the mixup didn't cost him more than it could have.
  • Allow me to join in the chorus of folks asking, "What the heck is Washington doing drafting Kirk Cousins?" Nothing against Cousins, who I actually think will do well at the next level (or could elsewhere, at least), but this isn't even about bringing in a fellow rookie to "compete with" Robert Griffin III. Washington has plenty of other holes. The Redskins couldn't try to draft and fill it, while finding a backup quarterback in free agency? Seriously. Good grief. And you wonder why Washington hasn't won anything in a long while.
  • Ronnell Lewis' fall from top-25 prospect to fourth-rounder is intriguing. Did NFL teams see him up close and get spooked by his lack of a true position? In my book, he'd be a great defensive end, but if NFL teams think he's too small, I have major, major doubts about his ability to play the linebacker spot. The mental part of the game didn't come easily to Lewis at OU, but his career will be fascinating to watch. He's got a high motor, and if it doesn't work out, it won't be because of a lack of effort.
  • Good on A&M's Randy Bullock, who went in the fifth round. Prepare for a similar fate in 2011, Quinn Sharp.
  • Interesting to see OU's Travis Lewis fall all the way to the seventh round. How much did his broken toe in 2011, which he rushed back from to help his team, hurt his NFL stock? His tape from senior season was underwhelming, no doubt. NFL teams had to be scared about his lack of progression from freshman to senior year, at least not what you'd expect from a guy who topped 140 tackles as a freshman.
  • A year ago, A&M folks were rejoicing a future Big 12 title run when Jeff Fuller announced his intention to return. The Aggies went 7-6 and Fuller went undrafted. I hate to see when guys who make decisions to come back get hurt by them, but Fuller's season started with a hamstring injury, and his production never recovered, even when he got healthy. Almost the exact same scenario with A&M corner Coryell Judie, who couldn't get healthy in 2011 and didn't get drafted, even though he was one of the Big 12's top players in 2010.
  • Meanwhile, Bryce Brown was drafted, and his 2011 tape included three total carries, one of which was a fumble on his own goal line that nearly cost 10-win Kansas State a game early in the season. Take a bow, Mr. Brown.
  • Adding Josh Cooper to the Browns to play with Brandon Weeden? Well played, Cleveland. Well played.
  • How did Leonard Johnson go undrafted? I have no idea. Seemed like a solid middle rounder to me, and he proved his worth plenty of times this year against some great Big 12 receivers. His physical skills don't wow you, but he's instinctive at the position, and was physical and productive.

The Big 12 and the Senior Bowl

January, 30, 2012
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Senior Bowl week has come and gone, and now we wait for the combine (starts Feb. 22) for the next big moves prior to the NFL draft.

Here's how the Big 12 participants did, with a few thoughts to follow.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
  • 5-9, 56 yards, 2 INT, sack
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
  • five carries, 14 yards; two catches, 8 yards
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M
  • three catches, 19 yards
Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
  • one catch, 14 yards
Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
  • made field goals of 39 and 24 yards. No misses. Two touchbacks on four kickoffs.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
  • four tackles, forced fumble, interception (off Weeden)
Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
  • one pass breakup
Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
  • five tackles
Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
  • three tackles
Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas
  • three tackles
Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
  • two tackles, tackle for loss
Tony Jerod-Eddie, DE, Texas A&M
  • two tackles
A few thoughts:
  • A certain bit of symmetry in Fleming picking off Weeden late. From The Oklahoman: "I told him I owed him one," said Fleming, referring to the Cowboys' 44-10 rout of the Sooners in December. "And I got him." No doubt a rough outing for Weeden, who threw his other interception off an awkward drop back, but I wouldn't worry too much about one game. The practices mean a lot more than spotty game time for everybody in this game, and Weeden impressed a lot of people this week. A big day means just as little as an awful day in this game.
  • What a day for Fleming, though. He grabbed the interception late, but forced a fumble from Arkansas' Joe Adams on the opening drive.
  • Has Weeden taken over the No. 3 spot among QBs behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III? Ryan Tannehill was hurt this past week and couldn't play, but this could be an interesting race. No doubt there's disagreement among NFL teams on where to slot Weeden.

The best Big 12 games of 2011

January, 18, 2012
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We took a look at the best atmospheres on Tuesday, and today, it's time to rank the top 10 games involving Big 12 teams of 2011.

1. Kansas State 53, Texas A&M 50 (4 OT): Kansas State erased a double-digit lead in the final half of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Collin Klein burrowed into the end zone on a quarterback sneak to earn a huge win and a memorable night in Manhattan.

2. Baylor 50, TCU 48: The first game of the entire season for the Big 12 began in style. Robert Griffin III began his Heisman campaign with five touchdown passes, but the Bears blew a 47-23 lead in just over 11 minutes, giving up 25 fourth-quarter points. Griffin, though, hauled in his only catch of the season to extend a game-winning drive on third down, and Aaron Jones booted a 37-yard game winner with just over a minute left, cueing the Baylor fans to storm the field after a game-clinching interception.

3. Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38 (OT): This was what we thought it was. Neither defense could stop the opposing offense, and Oklahoma State converted a fourth down from Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon to extend the game and take the lead, but Stanford drove back down the field and missed a 35-yard field goal as time expired. It missed another kick in overtime, and OSU kicked a game-winning field goal after Colton Chelf's game-winning touchdown was overturned to just a 24-yard gain.

4. Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38: This gave way to the signature moment of Robert Griffin III's Heisman campaign, and it wasn't the 87-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright off Tevin Reese's helmet. The teams traded second-half leads and Oklahoma erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead before Griffin extended a play and hit Terrance Williams for a 34-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left.

5. Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT): This game made our top 10 moments of 2011, too. The Cowboys lost a 24-7 second-half lead and missed a game-winning field goal. Brandon Weeden threw an interception in the second overtime and Jeff Woody set off the biggest party in Ames in a long while with his game-winning, four-yard touchdown run in the second overtime.

6. Texas 27, Texas A&M 25: The Aggies led 10-0 and 16-7, but once again, it didn't matter. Jeff Fuller gave the Aggies back the lead with a big 16-yard touchdown with 1:48 to play. The two-point conversion failed, though, and Case McCoy got free for a 25-yard scramble that set up a 40-yard, game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker as time expired to give the Longhorns bragging rights in the heated rivalry for as long as they want, perhaps forever. The two teams aren't scheduled to meet again after A&M leaves for the SEC.

7. Oklahoma State 52, Kansas State 45: OSU fell behind 24-14 early after a pick six by Weeden, putting the undefeated season in doubt. The teams traded three touchdowns in just under two minutes, and Joseph Randle's 23-yard run gave OSU the lead for good with 3:16 to play, making it four touchdowns in three minutes. Kansas State drove to tie the game and possibly win it with a two-point conversion, but two Collin Klein passes fell incomplete, and OSU survived to move to 9-0.

8. Baylor 31, Kansas 30 (OT): This game wasn't televised, but it was quietly a classic. Baylor struggled to stop the run, and trailed 24-3 in the fourth quarter before RG3 broke a 49-yard run and hit on two long touchdown passes to tie the game. The two teams traded touchdowns in overtime, but Kansas failed to convert a game-winning two-point conversion, and Turner Gill's guts went unrewarded. Kansas also went without a win in conference play. Baylor loses this game, and RG3 doesn't win the Heisman.

9. Missouri 31, Texas Tech 27: This is a sneaky pick for our top 10 list. Texas Tech jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and Missouri trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, but James Franklin threw one touchdown pass and ran for another to take the lead. Texas Tech drove inside the Missouri 10-yard line in the final minute, but a tipped Seth Doege pass was intercepted to give Mizzou a dramatic win.

10. Missouri 38, Texas A&M 31 (OT): The SEC bowl helped bury Texas A&M's season and spark Missouri's. The Tigers trailed by 14 early and 11 points at half before taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Randy Bullock tied the game with a field goal in the final minutes to force overtime. James Franklin hit Marcus Lucas for an 11-yard score and Ryan Tannehill's final pass was batted down as Missouri stormed the field and celebrated the end of their three-game losing streak. The Tigers would win four of their final five games, and that bounced Mizzou to 4-4 instead of 3-5. That loss for then-No. 16 Texas A&M keyed off four in the final five regular-season games, including two in overtime (K-State, Mizzou) and another as time expired (Texas).

Honorable mention: Kansas State 28, Miami 24; Baylor 67, Washington 56; Iowa State 44, Iowa 41 (3 OT); Texas 17, BYU 16; Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38; Oklahoma State 30, Texas A&M 29.

The 2011 Big 12 All-Bowl team

January, 13, 2012
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Here's the All-Bowl team from the Big 12, recognizing the best single-game performances from this year's bowls.

QB: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Weeden threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns (it could have been four if a game-winning TD pass to Colton Chelf hadn't been overturned) on 29-of-42 passing. His first pass was intercepted, but he had an otherwise solid night and ran for his first career touchdown in the 41-38 win against Stanford.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Ganaway
AP Photo/Darren AbateBaylor's Terrance Ganaway rushed for five TDs in the Alamo Bowl.
RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor: The Big 12 rushing champion ran for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Bears' 67-56 win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl.

RB: Ben Malena, Texas A&M: Malena stepped in for the injured Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael and had a solid game in the Aggies' 33-22 win against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. He finished with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, showcasing his physical running style. He also caught six passes for 36 yards.

FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma: Millard carried the ball four times for 21 yards but also helped pave the way for three Blake Bell touchdowns from the Belldozer formation.

WR: Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: Jeff Fuller had better numbers in the bowl, but it was aided by big catches late. Swope kept the Aggies offense humming for most of the game, with eight catches for 105 yards in the win against Northwestern.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State: Blackmon was the best offensive player in the Big 12 bowls, spearheading Oklahoma State's offense in the Fiesta Bowl win with eight catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

WR: Colton Chelf, Oklahoma State: Chelf made two huge catches over the middle early and a third nearly won the game, but his touchdown was overturned. Still, OSU doesn't win its first BCS bowl without Chelf's 97 yards on five catches.

TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri: By Egnew's standards, it was a quiet game, but he played well with a 25-yard grab and three catches for 39 yards in Mizzou's win.

OL: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State's offensive line is keyed by Garner, who helped the Cowboys handle Stanford's blitzes well and give Weeden plenty of time in the Fiesta Bowl win.

OL: Philip Blake, Baylor: Baylor ran for 482 yards and scored 67 points in its win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Blake's the man who keyed it all.

OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State: Adcock's the best overall talent on OSU's line, and he showed it in the win against Stanford.

OL: Dan Hoch, Missouri: Missouri rolled over one of the nation's best rush defenses, North Carolina, for 337 yards on the ground.

OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M: The Aggies' offense was potent for most of its win against Northwestern, and Joeckel was solid in run and pass blocking for the balanced attack.

DEFENSE

DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat made five tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Longhorns' 21-10 win against Cal. The Texas defense dominated, and the defensive line's play was the catalyst. He did it all with a torn pectoral muscle, too. He'll miss the spring after having it surgically repaired this week.

[+] EnlargeAdam Davis
AP Photo/Matt StrasenKansas State defensive end Adam Davis, 97, had two sacks and forced this first-half fumble by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson in the Cotton Bowl.
DL: Adam Davis, Kansas State: Davis sacked Arkansas' Tyler Wilson twice and had three tackles for loss with a forced fumble in the loss to the Razorbacks.

DL: R.J. Washington, Oklahoma: With Ronnell Lewis ineligible, Washington showed up big in the win against Iowa. He had two sacks and made three tackles.

DL: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M: Jerod-Eddie made eight tackles and had a sack in the win against Northwestern.

LB: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M: Moore was a monster in the season finale for the Aggies, making nine tackles and forcing a fumble on his lone sack.

LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State: Klein flew around for the Cyclones, making 15 tackles in a physical game against Rutgers, though the Cyclones lost.

LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas: Could this be a big piece of momentum heading into 2012? Hicks starred with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win against Cal.

CB: Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma: Fleming was the Big 12's best defensive player of the bowls and the best player on the field in the Insight Bowl, making seven tackles, intercepting a pass and returning it 21 yards. He also broke up three passes.

CB: David Garrett, Kansas State: Garrett made 10 tackles and had two tackles for loss in the loss to Arkansas.

S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: He hates the nickname Machete, but Vaccaro was hacking away at Cal. He made three tackles, including two for loss and a sack.

S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State: Even if it was illegal (it was), Martin had the hit of the bowl season with a huge blast on Stanford's Ty Montgomery that took Montgomery's helmet off on the opening drive. He finished with nine tackles and a tackle for loss, with a fumble recovery.

SPECIALISTS

P: Tress Way, Oklahoma: Way averaged 50 yards on his six punts, including a 67-yarder.

PK: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M: Bullock made all four of his field goal attempts, including two from beyond 40 yards.

PR: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M: Harris looked the part of the Big 12's best, returning a punt 35 yards and finishing with 54 yards on his four returns.

KR: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: Gilbert had a 50-yard return and returned his four kicks for a total of 136 yards.
Four Texas A&M players will suit up for the Senior Bowl on Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.
Cornerback Coryell Judie was also invited and accepted, but he won't be able to participate after breaking his wrist in Texas A&M's 33-22 win over Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

They'll join three Baylor players in Mobile for the week.

The game is big, but really, the Senior Bowl week is most about the practices, while scouts flood to Alabama to see NFL draft talent go head-to-head in rep after rep for the week of practice. Those, like the game, are televised on the NFL Network.

Draft stocks can rise and fall during the week just as much as they can during the combine.

Their NFL futures offer even more reason to be disappointed with the 2011 season. The talent was obvious, especially in these four, who are just about as good as anyone at their position in the Big 12. The Aggies' 6-6 finish after warranted preseason hype cost Mike Sherman his job.

Tannehill, Gray, Fuller and Bullock will get a chance to show what they can do at the Senior Bowl, and I'd expect them all to have solid careers at the next level. Judie, too.

But there's no forgetting what could have been -- and wasn't -- in 2011.

Instant analysis: Texas A&M 33, NU 22

December, 31, 2011
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After a rough season that included the death of teammate Joey Villavisencio last week and the firing of coach Mike Sherman, the Aggies got a bowl win. It's been an emotional year at Texas A&M, but it will end in fine fashion with a good win over Northwestern.

The Aggies did it without top rusher Cyrus Gray, too. Gray missed his second consecutive game and the final game of his career with a stress fracture in his shoulder that he suffered early in a win over Kansas.

Here's some instant analysis.

How the game was won: Texas A&M was the better team and proved it for the first three quarters, but like we've seen all year, the team swooned in the second half. This time it came in the fourth quarter. The Aggies survived via two huge third-down catches from Uzoma Nwachukwu and Jeff Fuller to keep the ball out of Northwestern's hands in the final minutes. This season, the Aggies blew leads of 18 (Arkansas), 17 (Oklahoma State), 14 (Missouri), 13 (Texas) and 10 (Kansas State). They avoided a sixth loss in extravagant fashion this season with a clutch late drive to close out the Wildcats.

Turning point: Trailing 7-3, Texas A&M scored on its final three drives of the first half, highlighted by a vertical, 26-yard touchdown catch by Jeff Fuller from Ryan Tannehill. The Aggies took control and the Wildcats weren't able to get within realistic reach the rest of the game. The Aggies scored the first 10 points of the second half for a 30-7 lead.

Player of the game: A&M receiver Ryan Swope. Swope continued his tear this season with eight catches for 105 yards and broke a few tackles on a 37-yard catch-and-run to set up an early touchdown that put the Aggies ahead for good. Fuller had a huge catch late to seal the game, but Swope kept the A&M offense humming in the first half while it built the big lead.

Unsung hero: Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. He spelled what looked like a gimpy Dan Persa and ran for 65 yards and a touchdown in a nice performance.

What it means: One epic bowl losing streak ended while another lives on. Northwestern had lost five bowl games going back to 1949 and made it a sixth. Texas A&M ended its eight-game bowl losing streak dating back to 2001. The Northwestern streak was represented on the sidelines by a monkey wearing a No. 63 jersey, the number of years since the Wildcats won a bowl.

Well wishes: Coryell Judie. The Aggies' kick returner and cornerback finally returned to full health against Texas on Thanksgiving after missing a handful of games with a hamstring injury. However, he suffered a fractured wrist during his final collegiate game. It's a rough break for a huge talent, but he'll hear his name called next April in the NFL draft.

Record performance: With his first field goal midway through the first quarter, kicker Randy Bullock broke Texas A&M's single-season scoring record set back in 1927. The Lou Groza Award winner surpassed Joel Hunt's record of 128 points and finished the season with 139 points after making three field goals and three extra points on Saturday.

Did you know: Big 12 Bowl edition

December, 21, 2011
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Time for a collection of fun facts, courtesy of the Big 12 Conference heading into eight Big 12 bowl games this postseason.
  • The Big 12 has five Heisman winners since its inception in 1996, the most of any conference over that span.
  • Every Big 12 team has gone to a bowl since 2008.
  • Since that year, seven Big 12 teams have won bowl games.
  • The Big 12 and SEC are the only conferences with 10 or more teams in which every team's played in a bowl game over the last four seasons.
  • In 2012, the Big 12 will have three conference champions and seven teams ranked in the final regular season BCS rankings.
  • A Big 12 player has won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker in the past two consecutive seasons. (Randy Bullock, Texas A&M; Dan Bailey, Oklahoma State)
  • The Big 12 set an attendance record with an average of over 63,000 fans for each home game.
  • Every Big 12 team leads its series against its bowl opponent this year, if the teams had previously met.
  • Baylor leads its series against Washington, 3-1.
  • Oklahoma leads its series against Iowa, 1-0.
  • Kansas State leads its series against Arkansas, 3-1.
  • Missouri leads its series against North Carolina, 2-0.
  • Texas leads its series against Cal, 4-0.
  • Iowa State and Rutgers have never met. This year will be Iowa State's 11th bowl game in school history. It's gone to the postseason twice in three years under Paul Rhoads.
  • Northwestern and Texas A&M have never met.
  • Oklahoma State and Stanford have never met.
  • Baylor is 7-8 all-time in bowl games.
  • When holding teams under 24 points, Iowa State is 15-1.
  • Kansas State took home Newcomer of the Year (Arthur Brown), Coach of the Year (Bill Snyder) and Offensive Freshman of the Year (Tyler Lockett). The three awards are the most in school history.
  • Missouri has 2,835 yards rushing and 2,834 yards passing. The Tigers are one of only two teams in the country to average at least 235 yards per game both through the air and on the ground.
  • Oklahoma and Iowa have one common opponent: Iowa State. The Sooners won, 26-6, in Norman. Iowa lost in triple overtime in Ames, 44-41.
  • Texas has played in 49 bowl games, which ranks second in the FBS.
Five players from the Big 12 have earned consensus All-American status.
To earn consensus All-American status, players must be named to at least two of the five recognized All-American teams.

Those five are the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Foundation.

AP All-Americans and the Big 12

December, 15, 2011
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Plenty of Big 12 players cracked the Associated Press All-America teams. Here they are:

FIRST TEAM
SECOND TEAM
THIRD TEAM
  • Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
  • Gabe Ikard, OG, Oklahoma
  • Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State
  • Quinn Sharp, K, Oklahoma State
  • Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
  • Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State
  • Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State

Catching up on the All-American teams

December, 13, 2011
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We've neglected a few of the All-American teams that have been released in recent days. Here's a quick refresher:

ESPN All-Americans

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Blackmon is now a two-time Fred Biletnikoff Award winner. He hasn't ripped off the huge catches he did last season, but he has turned into an unstoppable talent in the red zone, hauling in 15 touchdown catches, the majority of them on perfectly executed fade routes and balls thrown from Brandon Weeden. Blackmon finished the regular season with 113 catches and 1,336 yards, and the physical freak will likely play his final game in the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford.

Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State

Adcock's glorious mullet tells you all you need to know: Oklahoma State's offensive line is all business up front and Cowboys fans enjoy the party in the backfield as a result.

The Cowboys have had the Big 12's best offensive line the past two seasons, and Adcock has been the key piece throughout that stretch, helping OSU give up just 21 sacks in the past 25 games. The Cowboys have ranked third nationally in total offense in each of the past two seasons, and the offensive line has been perhaps the biggest reason why.

Football Writers Association of America All-Americans
Walter Camp All-Americans
  • Blackmon, WR
  • Broyles, WR
  • Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
Second Team
  • Griffin III, QB
  • Adcock, OT
  • Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
  • Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State

ESPN.com's 2011 All-Big 12 Team

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
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Editor’s Note: Tune into the “AT&T ESPN All America Team Show” on Saturday (ABC, 1:30 p.m. ET) to see who ESPN’s writers and experts selected.

It's been a fun season across the Big 12, with a few big names who didn't play as well as we thought, and lots of unknowns who became household names by the end of the season.

I'll offer my comments below, but here's our All-Big 12 team for 2011.

OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Jerome Miron/US PresswireThe heroics of Robert Griffin III got Baylor to 9-3 and made him a Heisman Trophy finalist.
QB: Robert Griffin III, Baylor
All-purpose: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor
RB: Henry Josey, Missouri
FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma
WR: Kendall Wright, Baylor
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri
C: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State
OL: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
OL: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

DEFENSE

DE: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
DT: Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
DE: Alex Okafor, Texas
DE: Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State
LB: Sean Porter, Texas A&M
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
LB: Emmanuel Acho, Texas
NB: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
CB: Nigel Malone, Kansas State
CB: Carrington Byndom, Texas
S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State

SPECIALISTS

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
PK: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
PR: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Finally, a few notes and explanations:

  • I loved the media's idea to craft an all-purpose spot to accomodate Collin Klein. The Big Ten did the same for Michigan's Denard Robinson last season. I followed suit, and did so on the defensive side of the ball with a nickel-back spot for Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson. Two players that missed first-team designation by the coaches, but clearly deserve to be recognized.
  • Additionally, I prefer the teams to reflect the Big 12 style of play, so the nickel back fits. Each team doesn't have 11 players, but there were deserving linebackers. The same with Egnew and Millard. Does every team use a fullback or a tight end? No, but both are standout performers. They'd rotate in anyway, just as Jefferson would in a theoretical package.
  • Tough call to leave Philip Blake from Baylor off my team, but Garner's been better. Blake is very, very close, though.
  • Hated to leave off Brodrick Brown and E.J. Gaines, but I went with a more traditional two corners and two safeties, rather than four corners like the media's team.
  • Steven Johnson and Arthur Brown would have been right behind my three linebackers. That race was probably closer than at any other position, except maybe cornerback. Difficult to leave either of those guys off my first team, but the three on the team were better. I gave Brown my Newcomer of the Year nod, though.
  • I don't like going with three defensive ends and one defensive tackle, but there wasn't a defensive tackle who deserved the honor more than Okafor, my third defensive end. Okafor was a defensive tackle last year anyway, so that's close enough, right? He moved from tackle to end before spring practice earlier this year. In the Big 12, an additional pass rusher is necessary, too, right?
  • I made a similar move with my offensive line. Went tackle-heavy, but the guards didn't have quite as many standouts.

Randy Bullock wins the Groza Award

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
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Texas A&M's Randy Bullock won the Groza Award as the nation's top kicker on Thursday night during "The Home Depot College Football Awards" show.

Bullock led the nation with 25 field goals made on 29 attempts, and is the first Texas A&M player to ever win the Groza Award.

He's the second consecutive Big 12 player to win the Groza Award after Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey won the award last year.

Bullock beat out Florida's Caleb Sturgis and Florida State's Dustin Hopkins.

Chalk it up as a win for the Aggies over their future SEC opponents, the Gators.

Big 12 has five AFCA All-Americans

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
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The American Football Coaches Association named its All-America team this week, and five Big 12 players made the cut.

We'll have our ESPN.com All-America and All-Big 12 teams here later this week, but here's who landed on this list:
  • Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
  • Levy Adcock, OL, Oklahoma State
  • Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
  • Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
  • Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M

All deserving, but what about Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander? Hmm.

Big 12 by the numbers: Week 14

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
3:00
PM ET
Here's the story of the Big 12 this week, as told by calculators.

75.5: Fewer yards per game given up by Texas than any team in the Big 12. The Longhorns rank ninth nationally. Oklahoma is No. 2 in the Big 12 — and ranks 52nd.

1: Big 12 running back with more rushing yards in conference games than Missouri's Henry Josey, who has missed the last two-plus games with a knee injury. That would be Baylor's Terrance Ganaway.

0: Big 12 teams in the national top 25 in blocked punts or kicks. Kansas State and Missouri lead the Big 12 with three.

390.1: Average total offense, in yards, per game for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, 19.1 more yards than any player in the Big 12.

22: Rushing touchdowns in conference games for Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, more than any player in the nation.

0: FBS teams that have given up fewer sacks than Oklahoma, which has allowed just six this season.

1: Big 12 team that played more than six home games this season. (Texas A&M, with seven.)

2: Big 12 teams with a turnover margin of better than plus-2. Oklahoma State is plus-16. Kansas State is plus-11.

1: Big 12 player with more career kick returns for a touchdown than OSU return man Justin Gilbert's four. Gilbert is a sophomore and returned a kick for a score against Oklahoma last year.

6: More field goals than any Big 12 kicker for Lou Groza Award candidate kicker Randy Bullock of Texas A&M.

49.5: Percent of Texas LB Emmanuel Acho's 105 tackles this season that have come in the past four games.

2: Big 12 kickers without a missed PAT this season. (Donnie Carona, Texas Tech; Justin Tucker, Texas)

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